The Matrix, the Steak, and the Wonder

In The Matrix, the freed humans know exactly what their previous reality was made of: lines and lines of code.  Yet, when agreeing to betray the hero, Cypher makes this simple observation:

I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?  [Takes a bite of steak]  Ignorance is bliss.

Cypher’s line came to mind on my morning walk. I felt the sunshine warm my face, knowing it was just the energy from fusion reactions in the sun filtered through the Earth’s atmosphere. I looked at the gentle bend of a flower stem, knowing that it was simply the phototropism genetically programmed into the plant.  I felt the breeze, knowing it was simply the result of thermal energy changing the density of the air.  I could access scientific explanations for nearly everything around me, but knowing them didn’t change the experience or the wonder of a perfect morning.

That same idea is embedded throughout my novel, Foreseen. While a scientific explanation is provided as to how adepts alter the decisions of others, or even collapse quantum wave functions to move objects from one location to another, the wonder – and horror – of what they can do remains the same. In other words, just like Cypher said, in the end, the human experience is just that – experience, not knowledge.

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